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‘Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850–1910’, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 22 September 2015 – 17 January 2016

Deutsch, Allison; (2016) ‘Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850–1910’, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 22 September 2015 – 17 January 2016. Object , 18 (1) pp. 71-73. Green open access

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Abstract

When the Musée d’Orsay advertises the ‘first major show on the subject of prostitution’, we are immediately wont to wonder why no such exhibition has been organized before. There is no dearth of art, material culture or archival documentation relating to the sex trade from 1850–1910, nor a want of art historical scholarship on the practice or its representation in that period. And so it seems appropriate to ask, reprising Linda Nochlin’s foundational feminist inquiry as to ‘why have there been no great women artists’, whether the question of why there has been no major show of ‘pictures of prostitution’ might suggest a problem inherent in the concept of prostitution itself.1 Like greatness – a constructed category obscuring underlying social and economic relations – prostitution is also a projection of fantasy that fascinates because it mystifies.

Type: Article
Title: ‘Splendour and Misery. Pictures of Prostitution, 1850–1910’, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, 22 September 2015 – 17 January 2016
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://student-journals.ucl.ac.uk/obj/article/id/...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527579
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